Will Oldham’s Lie Down in the Light, attributed to Bonnie “Prince” Billy, the bleak Louisville songwriter’s best-known pseudonym, was released this spring in the expected low-key manner and received the expected level of low-key critical acclaim. But his next disc, Beware (out March 17), has been heralded by his UK label, Domino, as his “biggest and most ambitious album,” and will get a full-fledged promo push (singles, photo shoots, interviews).
It’s something that Oldham is only going along with, according to this New Yorker profile, “to prove that record promotion doesn’t really work, at least not for him.” Within that conflicted vibe, “Beware Your Only Friend” — a deeply unsettling number dolled up in a pretty little outfit — is just about perfect. A bright and peppy country-tinged rock song, it’s basically a warning sung from the perspective of an aspiring stalker: “I want to be, your only friend / Is that scary?” Yes. Yes it is.